MAG's Geomantic Roots

John Michell

John MichellJohn Michell is the elder statesman of the modern Earth Mysteries movement. He wrote the book that initially introduced me to geomancy. In 1970, View Over Atlantis made me aware of Great Britain's magnificent ancient sites. I had the good fortune to do tours of ancient sites with him that were organized by Jamie George. He is a prolific author, who has written numerous books and pamphlets on subjects varying from the anti-metrification movement to visions of the New Jerusalem. His role in bringing in various - initially apparently unrelated - bits and pieces (leys, magic squares, holy well's mythology, neolithic connections, sacred geometry, gematria, and on and on) have provided a framework for the modern Earth Mysteries Movement as well as to the field of geomancy. Click here for more on John.

Bruce MacManaway

Bruce MacManaway

Bruce MacManaway found his healing skills while fighting a rearguard action at Dunkirk. He was responsible for a group of men who had run out of medical supplies. He had nothing but his hands to treat the wounded. So he used them. Immediate relief from suffering was later discovered to have also achieved reversal of shock and internal bleeding, and an absence of subsequent infection. Bruce started the Westbank Healing Centre in Strathmiglo, Fife, Scotland where he became one of the most well known healers of the 20th Century in Britain. He drew together a cohesive method for dealing with houses which were geopathically stressed or psychically disturbed. He put together the concepts of Allendar Smith and the new notions of dowseable leys to provide the basis for the teachings of Terry Ross, Mabel Beggs, and John and Kate Payne, and Roy and Ann Proctor.

Byron Dix

Byron Dix

I learned archaeoastronomy from Byron Dix. He was a self taught genius who was the first person I knew who walked through the land feeling what was going on – “Oh, there must be something over there.” And sure enough, there would be a standing stone or some other feature. He taught me Orthographic Projection, a valuable tool for telling where the sun would rise on a particular day at any latitude and elevation to the horizon. We spent many days out in the fields and woods of New England looking for evidence about the people who built the stone chambers and other lithic features. He came to the conclusion that most of them were built by Native Americans after the White man got there, and presented his proof in Manitou.

We both played guitar and we found that after not seeing each other for several months, we'd get together, and our guitars were more often than not completely in tune with each other! He passed on a while back. In my book (along with his partner, Jim Mavor), Byron is among the greats in American archaeoastronomy. He was a good teacher, and a good friend.

Tom Graves

Tom Graves

  As Editor of The British Society of Dowsers Journal in the seventies, Tom Graves rekindled the fires started by Reginald Alendar Smith and Guy Underwood. His articles captured the imagination of a number of dowsers who were getting in to Earth Energy dowsing at that time. But it was his bookNeedles of Stone(now “Revisited”) that really fired imaginations. Tom showed how to approach a sacred site with dowsing rods, and what to look for. He was a strong voice in these Mysteries in the seventies and early eighties.
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Terry Ross

Terry Ross

Terry Ross, also studied with Bruce MacManaway. He was President of the American Society of Dowsers and one of the early people to bring the idea of dowseable leys to the United States. He taught my mother, Virginia, how to dowse, and she taught me in the late fifties. In 1970 or so, my mother took me to a meeting in Woodstock, Vermont at Betty Sincerbeaux's home. Terry was one of the speakers. The next morning, we went to see the Summer Solstice Sunrise at an astronomical platform at Calendar II. That sunrise, I had an experience in the chamber that changed my life. Terry became my teacher, and we worked together throughout the seventies. He has now passed on, but in his time, he was a true Master Dowser.


Paul Devereaux

Paul Devereaux

Paul Devereaux was the Editor of “The Ley Hunter,” a magazine of the Earth Mysteries. He was a major player in nineteen seventies, when the Earth Mysteries were just reviving. Paul introduced me to the stone rings of Yorkshire and Wales, and is known on both sides of the Atlantic as an Earth Mysteries Researcher. He is the author of numerous books on the subject which emphasize the more scientific focus of his research.

The Americans

Kate & Col. John Payne

Kate & John Payne

Col. John and Kate Payne and Mabel Beggs of Ithaca, New York studied with Bruce MacManaway in the early 1970's. They brought the geomantic information they had learned back to Ithaca, and started the Foundation of Light, a spiritual center that continues to grow today. These people were Master Dowsers in the US in the last half of the 20th Century. (John, Kate and Mildred have all passed on).

Chuck Pettis

Chuck Pettis studied with the Paynes and Mabel Beggs. In 1977 at the Foundation of Light in Ithaca, New York, he created the first energetically and astronomically aligned stone ring in modern America. He now lives and works out in the Seattle, Washington area, and runs his web site the Geo Group.
Chuck Pettis

Ellis Hollow Stone Circle

Ellis Stone Circle

Sig Lonegren

Sig Lonegren

Sig Lonegren

While his mother taught him to dowse in 1959, Sig Lonegren began his serious work in Geomancy in the early seventies with Terry Ross. He then went on to received a Masters Degree in the Study of Sacred Space from Goddard College in Vermont in 1978. Sig served in many capacities for the American Society of Dowsers, and was head of their dowsing school for several years with Ed Jastram in the early eighties. After moving to Glastonbury, England, he was elected to the Council of the British Society of Dowsers. He has written a number of books including “Spiritual Dowsing” and “Labyrinths: Ancient Myths & Modern Uses.” He is Webmaster here at Mid-Atlantic Geomancy. Write comment (0 Comments)

Jeff Saward

Jeff SawardI first met Jeff Saward in the late seventies and early eighties when his magazine, “Caerdroia,” was in its infancy. This magazine, with its focus on labyrinths, was very supportive of my work in Nazca, Peru, where the labyrinthine figures are to be found scratched in to the surface of the Pampa Ingenio. It was in 1983, when I met Jeff at a Samhain Earth Mysteries Gathering in Glastonbury that our relationship and connections began to grow. His support and his graphic contributions made my7-path labyrinth“Labyrinths: Ancient Myths & Modern Uses” possible. Jeff and I have since worked together on numerous occasions, especially on various projects with The Labyrinth Society(TLS). We were founding members of that Society, and today, both Jeff, and his wife Kimberly (who is President of TLS) continue to be active members of that international society. Labyrinths are important sacred spaces. I suspect that many more of these single path magical tools have been built in the last ten years than all other new sacred spaces combined. Jeff's pioneering efforts and his on-going work in this field make him, as far as I am concerned, the world's leading expert on labyrinths.

Robin Heath Robin Heath

Robin Heath is among the second generation of Earth Mystery people like myself. He is primarily known for his work in Archaeoastronomy and sacred geometry, following up and confirming the work of Alexander Thom, and explaining Thom's paradigm-breaking ideas to people other than academics and archaeologists, who did not believe that Neolithic Man was intelligent enough (or should I say, was too primitive) to have developed sophisticated geometry, the Megalithic Yard and the astronomy that Thom discovered in his seminal work in the stone rings of the British Isles. Robin's book Alexander Thom: Cracking the Stone Age Codewas published by Bluestone Press, St. Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire, Wales in 2007 (ISBN978-0-9526151-4-9) is a must read for anyone wanting an excellent first book on archaeoastronomy.

Hamish Miller

Hamish Miller Hamish Miller

Hamish Miller made his initial mark in dowsing with his book (along with Paul Broadhurst) “The Sun & the Serpent.” Using one L rod he made himself at the forge (he's a blacksmith among other things), he set out to follow John Michell's Michael Line, which runs from Carn Les Boles in southwestern Cornwall, up through important sites in Bodmin Moor and a number of Michael Churches, including Brent Tor on the northwestern edge of Dartmoor, up through Burrowbridge Mump, Glastonbury Tor, Avebury Stone ring, and on up to the northeast. Hamish found the line wasn't straight – as he had expected. Instead, it snaked about, and he then realized that there were two lines he named “Michael” and “Mary”. Hamish has gone on to explore another long line, the Apollo Michael line, that runs from Israel, up through numerous Apollo sites, then Michael sites, like Mont St Michel and Michael's Mount on to Skellig Michael off the coast on southwestern Ireland. (Sadly, Hamish died in 2009)

Patrick MacManway

Patrick MacManaway Patrick MacManaway Patrick MacManaway

Patrick MacManaway, geomancer and healer, son of Bruce, studied first with his father and then went to Medical School. He came to study with Sig when he was running his "Construction & Uses of Sacred Space School" in Vermont. Patrick apprenticed with Sig for two years, and subsequently in Feng Shui with feather Anderson. He is a practicing Geomancer - on both sides of the Atlantic. He lives in Vermont, but commutes regularly to Great Britain. He is presently President of the British Society of Dowsers.

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In Memoriam: John Frederick Michell

John Michell

With his family at his side, John Michell lost his battle with lung cancer in Bournmouth on St George’s Day 2009. How appropriate. It was John who made so many of us aware of the correlation between England's Patron Saint who slew dragons with his spear, and our prehistoric ancestors who nailed down the snaking Earth Energies by spearing them with their standing stones (or as Tom Graves called them, "Earth acupuncture needles").

Born on the 9th of February, 1933, John graduated from Eaton and then Trinity College Cambridge, and was a life-long student of Plato and an avid classicist. He was also an eclectic eccentric, an honoured friend, and the seminal founding instigator of the Earth Mysteries movement in the last half of the twentieth century here in Britain. At a time like this, an obituary would be appropriate, but I would rather concentrate on how John affected my life directly as a spiritual seeker in my exploration of these mysteries.

Of course there were those who came before him like Norman Lockyer, Alfred Watkins and Reginald Allendar Smith, but it was John’s book The View Over Atlantis that initially woke me up to the reality that the "primitive savages" who lived in Stone Age Britain were in reality, sophisticated mathematicians, astronomers and probably much more spiritually advanced than Twentieth Century Man.

In the early seventies, when I began to look in to Sacred Space on a serious level, there wasn’t much literature available on this material in the United States. Indeed, it was in Britain where most of the early literature was to be found including the works of Janet & Colin Bord, Guy Underwood, and Tom Graves to mention only a few, but it was John Michell’s prolific pen that filled the decades of the sixties to the present day with ever new and innovative ways of looking at these Mysteries.

My first personal connection with John came in the late seventies at a Ley Hunters’ Moot where I gave a presentation on my dowsing findings of the enigmatic stone chambers in New England that exhibited many of the same characteristics that he had written about finding in Olde Englande - astronomy, sacred geometry and the Earth energies. I’ll never forget his feedback after my talk. He told me, “Sig, please stop calling the things you are dowsing 'leys.' Leys are intentional alignments of sacred sites.”

I took his advice and since that time, I have been calling the six to eight foot wide straight beams of yang energy that have a direction of flow and sometimes run concurrently with Watkins' leys - "energy leys." I have found many leys that do not have any dowseable yang energy flowing along them (my four inch wide ley at Avebury that I wrote about in Spiritual Dowsing is but one example), and I've dowsed innumerable energy leys in New England that are not marked by any visible alignment of sacred sites. They are not one and the same. Leys - alignments of ancient sacred sites - and energy leys - lines of yang energy - do not always run concurrently. So I am always confused when people speak of "ley lines." Do they mean the alignments, the energy, or both? John helped me to create terminology that clarified this distinction. The misnomer "ley lines" just confuses it.

In the seventies, there began to be a division in the Earth Mysteries (EM) movement. There were those of us who were using all different kinds of tools including dowsing, archaeoastronomical information, and personal spiritual experiences to get a better picture of how our ancient foremothers and forefathers lived, and to learn more about how they used these sacred spaces to grow spiritually so that we might do the same. At the same time, there were those who called themselves "Earth Mystery Researchers" who were applying scientific methodology to find out what they could by using only those scientifically acceptable tools that could produce repeatability and be therefore scientifically verifiable.

Sadly, the researchers, in their determination to get the scientific establishment to accept their findings, began to reject the tools of the more eclectic seekers who were using Alexander Thom's astroarchaeological data, dowsing and other techniques that academic researchers either initially rejected out of hand or, as in the case of Professor Thom, because they didn't have the maths to understand it, just ignored his data. This division unfortunately created a situation where some EM researchers vituperously attacked those who were not sticking solely to scientific methodology. Among other seekers, both John and I were the subject of these scurrilous attacks. They were painful and ended up being extremely divisive within the EM community, and actually put a major damper on the movement in the late eighties and early nineties.

It was in the depths of those attacks that I found John to be a true, loyal and inspiring friend. Part of me was incensed that a man of his preeminence would be attacked by others who, IMHO, were of lesser stature. But he really helped me to see that this kind of abuse comes with the turf to anyone who is out on the leading edge of any movement.

Jamie George of Gothic Image in Glastonbury has been a long time good friend of John's, and was the person who urged me to come to Glastonbury for the first time in 1983. Jamie has been leading magical tours to the sacred sites of Great Britain and other countries for over twenty- five years, and he employs Earth Mystery experts to travel with his tours, or to meet them at specific sites along the route. In the early and mid-eighties, John and I participated in a number of Jamie's tours to England and Ireland, and we had some wonderful magical journeys together.

Sig, Jamie & John

Sig Lonegren, Jamie George and John Michell
on a reccie/planning trip in 1986
to Priddy Nine Barrows north of Glastonbury

Several of my best memories of John came from a tour with Jamie that we were both on in Cornwall in the mid eighties. The first was a lesson John taught me about how best to relate to the media. Somehow the BBC had learned that John and other EM folk would be in Penzance, and we were told that they wanted to do a programme on what we were up to. The night before the filming, the crew joined us at the hotel. I was aware that they were not asking questions to find out about the work we were doing, but rather, they were very skeptically questioning the value of the whole EM field.The next day, I was filmed dowsing for Earth Energies out at a stone ring. It was only later that I learned that John had refused to be filmed. He had made the right decision.

The Beeb fried me in the programme by later putting other dowsers in the same space to check my work, and - surprise surprise! - they did not find what I had found thus implying that dowsing and what I was up to was a load of tosh. We now know that when dowsing for intangible targets, even if they were trained by the same teacher, it is quite probable that no two dowsers will ever find exactly the same thing. This is reality when peering into the intangible/spiritual realms - we all see the other side differently. That's why there are so many religions and sub-religions/denominations - they all seek the One, but they all see Him/Her/It differently.

But that isn't my point here. I was caught up in the glamours - I was being filmed by the prestigious BBC! John read them correctly, and I learned an important lesson from him. If you are asked to dowse by a main-line establishment television company, pay attention to your first meeting. If they are overly skeptical or even hostile to dowsing (or whatever alternative modality they are asking you to demonstrate), back off, say "No thank you." Editors decide what will ultimately be seen on the telly, and they can (as they did in my case) make anyone look like a fool. John had made the wise choice.

My final remembrance of John that I would like to share with you also happened on that same trip to Cornwall. We were staying at the Queen's Hotel in Penzance, and John was giving a talk to a group of about thirty Americans on Land's End - one of his favourite places in Britain and the subject of a number of his books. He sat in the front of the room and was surrounded by a pile of papers and maps which he taped to the wall at appropriate times. John was a constant smoker, and as usual, he was rolling up a smoke while he gave his presentation. (The smoking ban was not in effect back then.) When he lit up, half of the group noticed some kind of unknown exotic herbal smell filling the room. The other half knew exactly what it was... ; )

John Michell Oak Tree

John Michell Oak (shortly after it was planted) on the MIchael Line
on Glastonbnury Tor, 15 February 2010

This was the John that I knew and loved. He was extremely well educated and erudite, yet he lived out on the fringe. He lived his life just as he wanted, and he had friends everywhere. His followers young and old will miss him. I already do.

Astronomy >>

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